Cycling connects. We all like to surround ourselves with like-minded people. But sometimes it can be difficult to meet those people – especially in a pandemic. Here are some ideas on how to meet cycling buddies & new partners in climb.
1: In sports clubs
Most of the people I regularly train and ride with are friends I got to know in my local sports club. I train for triathlon competitions since 2017. Training (and cycling) is a big part of a triathlete’s life, so finding partners to train with can be a big game changer for one’s training.
Amongst triathletes you meet a lot of social and outgoing people. There is a certain commitment to training, a passion for sports, a love for the outdoors and a drive to push yourself that we triathletes often share.
Also, the club training helped me to understand more about training. In my former sports club in Konstanz I got to meet my coach Kerstin who helps me to train smarter and stay motivated.
Competing in a team has also changed the sport to the better for me. It’s not only about me anymore but about us. You learn from each other and inspire each other to become stronger, braver and faster.
Even during the pandemic where all races got cancelled, we trained together and my fellow cycling buddies and I met up for regular rides anyway. In clubs I would always feel at home and always find people to share the ride with.
Overall, my fist recommendation for anyone who wants to train regularly, or maybe even wants to start racing, to join a local club. Yes, there is a certain amibition in club training but there will always be a variety of levels, paces and experiences present. It is okay to not having done any race yet but join a club. There is (as far as I know) no experience required. You can just go on a few trial trainings and see if you get along. People in clubs are very kind, helpful and happy about new members and friends.
Whether you go to regular club trainings or you want to know more about local sports news and events and meet plenty of people – it will definitely be worth it. Just google where the next local bike, running or triathlon club is and give it a try.
2: On social media
There are many social media platforms where you can meet other cyclists. Depending on where you live, which one you use or how visible your profile is, it will be more or less easy to meet new friends. Here are a few platforms I regularly use and some of the pros and cons for meeting others:
Strava is a platfrom where athletes can upload their training activities and also e-meet others.
+ there are clubs and events on Strava where you can find other athletes
+ in these clubs (for example Ryzon Strava club) the organizer can create events or social rides
+ you can find other Strava users that crossed your way via Flybys
– there is no direct messenger on Strava, you can only comment under someone’s activity
– if someone is private and does not accept your follow request, you do not have any chance to contact them
Other advantages of Strava:
+ you can see other people’s routes and get inspiration for new routes
+ your account on Strava can be fully private if you want, your privaty can be protected using homezone
I have met a few people over Strava but because there is no messenger service, it is more a tool used to compare statistics and exchange routes. You can however find some cycling events created by brands or accounts you follow. Also, please note that is – at least in the cycling world – often quite performance-oriented.
Instagram is one a social media network with a strong focus on photos and videos. With local hashtags and location tags you may find fellow cycling buddies in your region.
+ the direct messenger allows you to start talking directly to people online
+ with the explore button, over hashtags, reels, etc. you may find other cyclists in your region
– only public accounts can be found in that way
– only people who post about their cycling and/or training can be found
– big accounts make it look normal to meet people over instagram which can be misleading
– there are no groups, events, etc.
I have met some other great, inspiring cyclists in my region over Instagram. BUT I have a public account and my engagement rate helps to be visible to many. This grew over 4 years.
In general, I would like to add that for influencers (people who make a fair amount of money with their content) meet-ups with other cyclists or content creators are also business meetings. Interaction pushes their reach and keeps them growing. If you want to meet other cyclists over instagram, having a public account and engaging with other cycling accounts may help. But instagram can also be somewhat away from reality, competitve and maybe even toxic. Commit to cycling first and then see how and if instagram can benefit you.
Facebook is almost dead. I know. But for groups and events it can be very helpful to find other people and cyclists here. The only pro of facebook therefore is:
+ look for local cycling networks, groups and events
3: On cycling events
Last but not least, the best way to meet others is still in person. Depending on what you kind of cycling you do, there will be the right event with the right kind of people. For example:
+ races and competitions
+ cycling fairs
+ cycling festivals
+ social rides
+ on the road
Also, when I am on a bikepacking adventure, I like to talk to fellow bikepackers. Making friends along the way and learning from others is the best thing about it for me 🙂 I am outgoing and I like to keep in touch with people I met on the road.
Sharing your passion with others is wonderful. It can be motivation, inspiriation, important exchange and a sense of belonging. Even if riding solo can be a great experience, too, being part of a group or having a few cycling friends can be a huge benefit to your mental and physical health.
If you want to meet new people, I would recommend to try a bit of everything. Talk to people you meet at events, join a ride from your local bikeshop for instance, and also look on the social media platforms if you find like-minded people. Nevertheless, cycling is very diverse and finding a match or someone on the same level and with the same interests like you can take some time. Instagram might seem like a fast and easy way to connect. But the algorithm plays a big role and we are not able to control it. So it is a bit random who is visible (and loud). Always remember not every cyclists who loves cycling, loves to share their stories. Sometimes the people who share the least, love cycling the most.
As a member of The Women All Ride I know that especially women often struggle to find training partners. We are looking for new ways to establish a platform to meet cyclists. Stay tuned what comes in 2022 and join us for any events in the future!
Header: Georg Lindacher for Wilier Triestina
Photo 1: ASC Konstanz
Photo 2: Maximilian Rhein
Photo 3: Lene Haas
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